The Richard Peabody Reader
The Peabody Reader, selected poetry and prose by Richard Peabody
The Richard Peabody Reader is a wide-ranging selection of this great writer’s poetry and prose, filling an important gap in the literary world. As a publisher, Peabody’s steadfast dedication to that which is new, challenging, innovative and dynamic has won him a wide reputation among writers whose work he has championed. This volume demonstrates those same values, embodied in nearly four decades of fiercely smart, sophisticated, and often very funny writing. From his first collection of poems, I’m in Love With the Morton Salt Girl, to his most recent collection of short stories, Blue Suburban Skies, Peabody has established and developed a thoroughly unique voice, both warm and piercing, to deliver content that ranges from the hilarious, as in the short story “Flea Wars,” to the bittersweet, as in the poem “The Other Man is Always French,” to the elegiac, as in the poem in “Civil War Pieta,” to the absurd, as in the rollicking farce of the short story, “Bad Day at Ikea.”
Peabody’s aesthetic is all-embracing – strands of punk, beat, experimental, feminist, and political protest literary influences blend with the purely romantic to create a body of work that is both profound and pleasing. A writer who never plays it safe, Peabody writes with the urgency of one who thinks that any day might be his last, and with the insights of a life fully lived.
The collection was edited by Lucinda Ebersole, a writer and scholar who has worked with Peabody on several anthologies as well as many issues of Gargoyle. A substantive introduction by Michael Dirda, a Pulitzer Prize-winning literary critic, puts Peabody in his rightful place as a great and influential American man of letters.
Few write with as much brilliance and variety as Richard Peabody. Spanning nearly forty years, The Richard Peabody Reader offers us a buffet of Peabody’s poetry and prose from 1976 to the present that includes nostalgia, tragedy, despair, wit, surrealism, sex, and even science-fiction. This is an immensely entertaining collection of decades of work by a writer whose powers never lag and whose creativity seems to know no limits. — Mary Mackey, author of The Dear Dance of Eros and The Last Warrior Queen